Understanding Reimbursement for Loss of FUTURE wages (i.e. diminished earning capacity)
The Minimum of Steps to Taken to Document Lost Earning Capacity
The insurance company is not going to pay this claim unless they are convinced that the failure to pay for your diminished earning capacity (future lost wages) will cost them more if they delay. You, as the plaintiff, have the burden of proof. You must have the wage loss documented in a way that greatly increases the likelihood that you will prevail if you push this case forward.
This will almost certainly require the use of, at a minimum, medical opinions from qualified doctors that you are unable to work combined with a vocational rehab expert who can testify to the combination of your complete background along with accident related physical limitations.
The Cost of Pursuing a Claim for Future Wage Loss
I understand this is expensive. I certainly can appreciate the fact that this is not "good news" when you simply want justice. However, your diminished earning claim is potentially very significant. Depending upon your earnings prior to the injury, how long you had been off work, and when you can demonstrate you were likely to re-enter the workforce, there is a claim that may well be worthy of hiring experts to document this claim.
Documentation is Critical
If the claim can be well supported and documented, you force the insurance company to recognize the risk of denying payment: that a jury will provide much more than they can settle for. Do not expect the insurance company to simply look at your situation and try to be "fair" when it comes time to settle. They will pay only what they feel they must pay in order to reduce their risk. Even if the insurance company is convinced you have a claim, they will not pay unless they believe you can prove your claim.
If you had many years of work ahead of you, and if the job you can now do (if any) is at a huge reduction of pay in the future, it is worth the effort to pursue. On the other hand, if you can replace your ability to practice as a nurse with a job of equal or greater pay - or if you cannot substantiate your claim - you likelihood of recovery will go down significantly.
Many Other Resources May Be Needed
An economist, while not always required, is often a vital step in meeting the burden of proof. Unfortunately, due to the nature of these types of claims, and the cost and expertise required, pursuing any significant wage loss claim for diminished capacity (the inability to earn what was being earned prior to suffering the personal injury) will often require a top personal injury lawyer to navigate this vital, but document and expert intensive, claim.
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